Although his background molded him into a natural fit for the the coaching and teaching profession, Chad Clark wanted no part of the education field. Looking back, he has no idea why he resisted.
“I said I would never be a teacher because they don't make enough money,” Clark said. “Now I can't see myself doing anything else.”
Clark is now the head coach for the varsity boys and girls basketball teams at Delhi Charter. In addition, he is head junior high football coach and an assistant varsity coach.
Upon graduating from Bastrop High in 1996, Clark received an academic scholarship to Southern University where he majored in agriculture. Working in agriculture, Clark worked in Portland, Ore. and Chattanooga, Tenn.
“I was transferred to another job that required about 75 percent travel,” Clark said. “My wife had just gotten pregnant with our son, so I had to figure out some kind of way to be home every day.”
As he began pondering a career change, Clark naturally gravitated toward his background. Besides being a three-sport athlete at Bastrop High, Clark's mother, Cynthia Clark, is the principal at Delta Junior High.
Clark coached briefly in Chattanooga. When the Delhi Charter position came open prior to the 2007-08 school year, Clark and his wife, Vallery, relocated back to northeast Louisiana.
“Vallery is from Delhi, and wanted to move closer to home.” Clark said. “She followed me all over the country, so I started looking for a way to get back to this area. God opened the door for me at Delhi Charter. They were looking for a history teacher and a basketball coach, so here I am.”
Chad and Vallery are the parents of four children — Chad II (7), Olivia (4) and twins Naomi and Natalie (2).
Living less than an hour away has enabled Clark to play in all three Delta-Bastrop alumni basketball games since the event was founded in 2010.
“This is a good deal. It's a chance for all of us to get back together,” Clark said prior to Saturday's game at Sam's Place. “It's amazing to me that people still turn out and see this game. That tells you how big of a game it was back then.”
Clark participated in basketball, track and baseball for the Rams, or in his own words, “Everything but football.”
“Now I coach football and basketball at Delhi Charter.”
Clark's football duties are primarily with the junior high.
“I just help out wherever they need me on Friday nights,” he said.
Delhi Charter opened its doors in 2001 and began competing in varsity sports in 2005. Starting off, the Gators endured some hard times on the hardwood.
“They won like three varsity basketball games in three years,” Clark said.
Under Clark's tutelage, the Gators have shown improvement, qualifying for the playoffs the past two years.
“We've started to turn it around,” Clark said. “We're turning it around a little slow for my taste, but every step in the right direction is a positive step.”
Clark will wear two hats next basketball season as he was recently named head coach of the girls team.
“I'm a little nervous about it,” Clark said of his dual role, “but I'm looking forward to the challenge.”
Another challenge Clark is looking forward to next season is coaching against his alma mater. Clark will bring DC to Sam's Place and the Rams will play in the Gators' tournament in December.
“That's going to be fun,” Clark said. “Coach (Theabury) Odom and I go way back and we've been talking about playing since he got the job last year.”